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GOP senator: Biden’s Putin comment ‘a horrendous gaffe’

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) on Sunday said President Biden’s comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not remain in power was “a horrendous gaffe.”

Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Biden delivered a “good speech” in Warsaw, but he knocked the president for his final line in which Biden ad-libbed that Putin “cannot remain in power.”

“He gave a good speech at the end, but as you pointed out already, there was a horrendous gaffe right at the end of it,” Risch told co-anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I wish he would stay on script. Whoever wrote that speech did a good job for him. But my gosh, I wish they would keep him on script,” he added.

Biden made headlines on Saturday when, at the end of a speech in Warsaw, he said “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” referring to Putin.

The White House and top administration officials have since attempted to walk back the statement, asserting that the U.S. does not have a policy of regime change in Russia.

Risch on Sunday said Biden’s comment was problematic because a call for a regime change represents a large escalation.

“I think most people who don’t deal in the lane of foreign relations don’t realize that those nine words that he uttered would cause the kind of eruption that they did. But anytime you say or even as he did, suggest, that the policy was regime change, it’s gonna cause a huge problem,” Risch said.

“This administration has done everything they can to stop escalating. There’s not a whole lot more you can do to escalate than to call for regime change,” he added.

The Idaho Republican himself attempted to walk back Biden’s comment before again imploring the president to “stay on script.”

“The White House tried to walk it back immediately. Tony Blinken, the secretary of State, tried to walk it back immediately. I’ll walk it back right now, that is not the policy of the United States of America. Please, Mr. President, stay on script,” he said.

Tags Dana Bash Joe Biden Vladimir Putin

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